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The Center for Health Design
The Center for Health Design - Currents Newsletter

April 4, 2019

The Scoop

Healing the Community through Design  

Compassion, a much needed and often felt emotion in today's world, is a strong cornerstone of design. Compassion is by definition relational - it means to have concerns for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect, that we are all fallible. Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. And in that motivation lies the strength and power of our community. We at The Center have made it our mission to be the community's trusted resource and home to the largest collection of healthcare design research, best practices, resources, and tools for today's most urgent and challenging healthcare design issues.

As a community, we are all dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare through design of the built environment, leading the way in transforming hospitals, clinics, wellness centers, doctor’s offices, and residential care facilities for a safer, healthier tomorrow. The Center provides our community with live and virtual events where we can meet and strategize, create and share valuable tools and resources. And, our online resources are accessible anytime, allowing you to optimize your time while providing solutions to design challenges.

Here's a list of some of our latest promotions, events and tools: 

To see a complete list of upcoming events including live webinars, click here. The resources and tools we provide are meant to be shared - make sure to pass them along to your team and as always, let me know what tools and resources have been helpful to you in the past, and we'll feature them in our future newsletters.

Be well,

Debra Levin, Hon. FASID, EDAC
President and CEO


Industry News Briefs

Design Trends for Senior Living Facilities

As the preferences of seniors change, owners, managers, and developers are defining new types of senior living in different kinds of settings, tailored to resident desires. The industry is changing to be more integrated into existing communities, providing residents with community connections and non-seniors with an education into the benefits of senior living. Historically, senior living was developed on large campuses in rural and suburban areas. These campuses were a world unto themselves — all services, amenities, and activities were provided so that residents never had to leave. Part of the reason that people overwhelmingly want to age in their own home is that they retain community ties that have likely been fostered over many years. People want to access amenities and services and still feel like they are part of their vibrant, active community. This desire to be connected is forcing developers to locate senior living communities in urban and more dense suburban environments. 

Senior living that is integrated into the urban fabric responds to changing resident needs and helps to destigmatize senior living for the population at large, making it more of a mainstream, desirable product. When the greater community can interact with seniors and operators, they see that senior communities are not a place to be feared, but rather, great places to live. 
FacilitiesNet, more. . .


The Hidden Advantage: Enriching the Patient Experience with Successful MEP Infrastructure

Today’s healthcare leaders are driven to provide patients with the utmost positive care experience. In today’s competitive marketplace, even the slightest step ahead can result in miles gained. A significant factor in a patient’s experience is an environment where mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are seamlessly integrated. When MEP systems work well, they will blend into the background. But, where there’s an issue, these systems quickly become an unwelcome nuisance.

Facilities encounter many obstacles when faced with renovating or expanding facilities to improve the level of care. A common challenge is optimizing MEP systems. This is especially true in older healthcare facilities where temperatures, filtration, air changes and pressure relationships might be inadequate, plumbing and medical gas systems could be aging or compromised, and electrical distribution capacities may be at or near capacity. Any of these deficiencies can impact a patient’s ability to rest and recover in an infection-free environment. 
Medical Construction & Design, more . . .


Building New Research into the Design Process

Ellen Taylor, Ph.D., MBA, AIA, EDAC, has built her career on a mission to ensure that best practices used in the design of health care facilities are backed by credible evidence. This month, she shares how she is furthering that mission as vice president for research at The Center for Health Design. 

What are some of the challenges you see in the health care design space, both in process and in design itself? 

The separation of capital planning from operational implementation is a challenge. Any time we can evaluate the impact of a design decision on the long-term outcomes, we are ahead on the cost influence curve known by many. You have the most influence with the lowest cost early in the design process. The further into the process, the harder and more expensive it is to change decisions. After occupancy, the only solution may be workarounds. We should strive to advance the integration of design and operations.

It also increasingly feels like architecture is at a crossroads. There is a very traditional and established process that has been in place for decades, but a growing use of technologies, such as building information modeling and simulations, are being used to inform design. Processes such as Lean and integrated project delivery are changing how teams implement projects. Speed-to-market is creating increasing pressure to develop solutions more quickly. These are all challenges to the process, and using research to inform your design can certainly contribute to the process by better knowing what we do and don’t know.
Health Facilities Management, more. . . 


Behavioral Health Facility Design Sends a Message

The design of a psychiatric unit requires more than just getting the safety stuff right. Of course, you have to do that, but unlike other types of healthcare, a psychiatric unit is a study in social dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Anyone who is familiar with the famous Stanford prison experiment knows how quickly a position of power can be abused. Hospitals work hard to train staff to be kind and compassionate; to focus on treatment over management; and to de-escalate with gentleness instead of violence. As an architect, I am interested in how the physical environment impacts this dynamic positively or negatively.
Behavioral Healthcare Executive, more . . .

The Center for Health Design would like to thank our
thought leadership partner:


How Does Design Impact Behavioral Health Outcomes?

Behavioral Health Strategic Design Innovations that Improve Treatment Outcomes, Safety and the Bottom Line

Date:  May 15, 2019
Hyatt Regency Los Angeles Airport
6225 West Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Hear the industry's leading behavioral health facility design experts share how design is making a difference in the lives of children and adults faced with behavioral and mental health conditions. They’ll share real world experiences and future-looking insights into:

Innovative and effective design strategies that support behavioral health populations

The implications of design decisions

Case studies of state-of-the-art facilities

Existing standards and behavioral health models

Problem-solve with experts, idea-share with colleagues and obtain new strategies and resources you could not find in any other single opportunity.

Learn more about the expert sessions and register here.

Sponsored by:



EBD Journal Club

Security Implications Of Physical Design Attributes In The Emergency Department

Explore how security, a subset of safety, is equally important in the efficient delivery of patient care. The emergency department is susceptible to violence creating concerns for the safety and security of patients, staff, and visitors and for the safe and efficient delivery of care.

Read more here.


We invite you

to join us for Health Design Insights Networking Events

Come meet and connect with The Center's Affiliate members and the regional healthcare design community for "Innovations in Healthcare Design," an informal, creative presentation with wine, hors d’oeuvres and networking (worth one EDAC/AIA CEU credit).

These events are FREE to The Center's Affiliate Members and Partners. Non-members can attend for a $65 donation which can later be applied towards membership. Contact Lynn Kenney for details,

Upcoming Health Design Insights Events: 

San Francisco, April 17

Toronto, May 22

Chicago, July 25

New York, September 26


Classic Resources

Resources and tools to advance best practices and demonstrate the value of design to improve health outcomes, patient experience of care, and provider/staff satisfaction and performance. 


Population Health Clinic Evaluation Tool - (PDF Version)
With support from the Kresge Foundation, The Center for Health Design has developed a standardized Community Health Center Facility Evaluation tool that supports design for population health. The tool is intended to support both design and post-occupancy evaluation of built projects with respect to population health goals.


Executive Summary
Preventing Injuries and Increasing Safety Among Older Adults

This Executive Summary explores the frequency and cost of falls among older adults, reasons older people fall and what can be done to prevent falls, and other safety concerns among older adults.




The Center for Health Design is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education and advocacy. Looking for ways to support our work? Contact us.

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